In 1936, Seattle schoolteacher Robert J. Handy took advantage of the newly legalized “credit union” concept to found Seattle Teachers Credit Union (now School Employees Credit Union of Washington). Handy is reputed to have started the credit union with $5 in capital. Out of that enterprise grew a group of seven different but related companies, the largest of which is now PEMCO Insurance.
PEMCO has grown from premiums of $8,500 in 1949 to $322 million in 2006.
PEMCO’s stated niche market is in what some in the insurance industry refer to as “preferred risk”– that is, policyholders who are least likely to have traffic tickets or car accidents, and who take proactive steps to protect their own property with safeguards like car alarms, smoke detectors, and deadbolt locks.
Major insurance competitors include:
- American Family Insurance,
- Farmers Insurance Group,
- State Farm Insurance,
1. Virgin, Bill. "Nimble PEMCO looks to grow", The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 24, 2005.
2. Ebnet, Matthew "Longtime PEMCO Chief, 76, Beloved By Workers", The Seattle Times, January 20, 1998.